Nov 7, 2021
By Randy Lewis
For most people, the holidays are seen as wonderful occasions for gatherings with family and friends. Yet for many others, it can be a time of stress, anxiety, and depression. LGBTQ+ people are even more likely to endure periods of stress, anxiety, and depression during the holiday season, as many of them don't always have an option of returning home. Some have been thrown out of their homes and families of origin once they revealed their sexual orientation, gender identity, or nonconformity to their families.
For LGBTQ+ individuals who do get to return to their families over the holidays, these are not always blissful occasions and can often be painful reminders of their ‘otherness’ from family members. It may also mean dealing with passive or overt anti-LGBTQ sentiments and rejection by members of one’s family.
Research shows that LGBTQ people do well when there are affirming support structures in their lives. The pandemic has only further exacerbated issues of aloneness for many in our community. If there ever was a time when we needed each other, it is now.
With few places to go during the holidays, many in the community have come up with creative ways to experience the joys of the season with their chosen families, i.e., families constructed by hand and heart in an effort to seek out the support and love that one’s biological or legal family might not be able to provide.
These chosen families, individuals, and LGBTQ groups are stepping up and holding events that foster connection through holiday luncheons, dinners, and parties before, during, and after the day itself, offering opportunities for those in LGBTQ+ communities to come together with like-minded and supportive folks for fun and friendship.
This holiday season, consider being a home to someone who may need to feel connected. Consider engaging with those in your network or in your community who you know will be alone during the holidays. Offer to spend time with them over dinner, a movie, or a conversation and coffee. Make someone feel like home is not far away; that it is wherever and whenever folks can gather to make meaning and memories together.
May your holidays be filled with joy and happiness, and may you always be surrounded by the love and warmth of your community!
The pandemic has only further exacerbated issues of aloneness for many in our community. If there ever was a time when we needed each other, it is now.